Sunday, September 21, 2008

Legislate in haste, repent in leisure

The more I think about it, the more I think it's a really bad idea to rush through bail-out legislation the week before Congress breaks for the year. I just think about the Patriot Act and about how a lot of really bad ideas got through there because there was a sense that something, anything had to be done, right now, and we haven't been able to get rid of a lot of it even now. I would rather there be competent leadership on this issue after the first of the year. (Hope, hope, hope.)

Going back to the WashPost article I posted to last night, I wonder how such a large input of money will warp the market and prop up sectors that don't deserve to be propped up. In other words, there have been unintended consequences of every bailout this far - what will the unintended consequences of this bailout be?

I heard on NPR this morning that maybe the $700 billion is totally gone, maybe if these security stabilize they can be sold back to the private sector. Well, that's reassuring. I'm quite sure that they will be sold back at a rate that will allow a hefty profit to the private sector, which then gets to profit three ways - at the beginning by making the bubble, in the middle by getting bad debt off their books, and at the end by buying back recovered securities from the feds at a discount.

And so government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich has not, you can be assured, perished from the earth.


Mary T said...

Moti--I just wonder--have you studied history well enough to say this:
And so government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich has not, you can be assured, perished from the earth.
I am only asking because--I think--if we look back at where our own familys were before they came to America-- How could we hold such an opinion???
I am from ancestors who fled here from Poland and Ireland--they endured some tough stuff when they arrived--but with much more hope than what they left behind. Eventually they found solid ground here on which to build.

Have you some idea that some other place is better on this planet??? I really am wondering.

rebmoti said...

Yeah, I could understand why you would ask that. I sometimes get hyperbolic when I'm worked up. I don't want to write too much on this - I've probably gotten way too political on a blog that's supposed to be about frugality. But I'll say this:

- I agree with the point that it's better than the old country. That's especially true for Jews, for whom the old country was a burial ground.

- But I'm not a big fan of the "greatest country in the world" thing. There are plenty of good countries, particularly in Europe, where they still care about the social contract and not everything is about the bottom line. A lot of what one hears about the drawbacks of their system is hype.

- I prefer to judge the country based on how it lives up to its ideology, and that is imperfect, in my opinion. Race relations, income distribution, hyper competitiveness, etc. It's not that I think it's bad necessarily, I just think it could be better.

- Especially at a time when there's going to be yet another massive income redistribution to the wealthiest sectors. The Iraq war was in large part a jobs program for Halliburton. The reason the transportation system is such a mess is because the politicians are in the pockets of the oil companies. Big Corn is still subsidized even though it hurts the environment and doesn't really help feed people. etc. etc.

Don't get caught into the Fox fallacy that "the left hates America." I love America every bit as much as you do. I just love it far too much to let it get away with it when it's not what it should be.

Mary T said...

Well.. I guess I don't expect we're going to agree on much of anything issue wise--but I'm glad we agree that this is still a wonderful place to live. I feel so lucky to have been born here. Imperfect as it is, in my mind, it is the best.

rebmoti said...

Yes, but to you this being a great place to live is the end of the conversation. To me, it's the beginning.

Mary T said...

No, the converstation isn't over. Not if you think that it is over for me because I have no stake.

This world may not be my eternal home, but I do have a tent here.

What I think is there is a great deal more to this conversation that needs to be looked at. I agree things should not move so quickly.